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michael61182
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Hello. I have an issue with a collections agency.

My wife (fiancee at the time) and I broke a lease on a home we were renting in 2012. 2 months after the move out, we were sent a bill for what we owed. We did not agree with all the repairs and asked for a detailed list of the charges including copies of the reciepts. We disputed varies repairs as well as tools that the homeowner had bought in order to make repairs. We sent the email to the rental company on 11/28/2012, recieved a reply the following day (11/29/2012), that the home owner does his own repairs and he would be contacted, on 12/10/2012, we had not recieved a reply so we replied again. To date they have never replied to our email. I had requested copies of my credit report early 2014 and had nothing regarding the rental property. Now in may 2014 a collection agency began contacting us and I now have a collections for this rental on my report.

Can someone please advise on how I should handle this situation. I have researched the collection agency and they have plenty of negative reports against them on the BBB website, including harassing phone calls. We recieve phone calls as late as 8 and 9 pm, my wife even recieved a phone call at her work place. I understand collection agencies are difficult to deal with and we are not sure if we should go back to the rental property or try to make a deal with the collection agency. I would like to remove this negative mark ASAP as we are interested in applying for a home loan soon.

Thanks in advance.

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Hello. I have an issue with a collections agency.

My wife (fiancee at the time) and I broke a lease on a home we were renting in 2012. 2 months after the move out, we were sent a bill for what we owed. We did not agree with all the repairs and asked for a detailed list of the charges including copies of the reciepts. We disputed varies repairs as well as tools that the homeowner had bought in order to make repairs. We sent the email to the rental company on 11/28/2012, recieved a reply the following day (11/29/2012), that the home owner does his own repairs and he would be contacted, on 12/10/2012, we had not recieved a reply so we replied again. To date they have never replied to our email. I had requested copies of my credit report early 2014 and had nothing regarding the rental property. Now in may 2014 a collection agency began contacting us and I now have a collections for this rental on my report.

Can someone please advise on how I should handle this situation. I have researched the collection agency and they have plenty of negative reports against them on the BBB website, including harassing phone calls. We recieve phone calls as late as 8 and 9 pm, my wife even recieved a phone call at her work place. I understand collection agencies are difficult to deal with and we are not sure if we should go back to the rental property or try to make a deal with the collection agency. I would like to remove this negative mark ASAP as we are interested in applying for a home loan soon.

Thanks in advance.

 

File a complaint with the CFPB.  Attach copies of all your disputes.  You handled it right when the LL first tried to do this.  He is not entitled to compensation for tools he purchased and is more than likely trying to bill you for upgrading the unit believing that you will fall for it.

 

Send a CMRR letter to the CA disputing the debt and attaching copies of the letters.  I would be REALLY aggressive and tell them that they can remove the TL from my CRs immediately or I can pursue a lawsuit for their violations of the FCDPA in attempting to collect this fraudulent debt.  

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I have not talked directly with the collection agency, I have recieved 2 letters from them and they spoke to my wife at her work. However on all instances they are requesting full payment. Should I answer his calls and let him know what I plan on doing or should I do everything through certified mail?

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I would answer the call and let them know that the charge(s) are disputed, that a complaint has been filed with the CFPB, and that they should watch for a written dispute from you then send it CMRR.

 

I just spoke with the collector. He has been harrassing my wife at work, where she only works 2 days a week. Her supervisor told her, that he calls a lot and has asked how he can garnish her wages.

 

He wants me to fax him over my inspections list so that he can take a look at it. He was very pushy, but I told him I have already filed a complaint with the CFPB and that I will not fax anything. I told him I can send a written dispute by certified mail.

 

Supposedly he wants to work with us and help us remove anything that shouldnt be there, but I told them I will wait the outcome of the complaint as I am concerned with the fruadulant charges violating the FCDPA.

 

He told me they are not a collection agency that buys debts, he said they work directly with their clients to get them paid. I dont know if that affects how this should be dealt with. I found a link to their website.

http://thunderbirdcollections.com/first_1.html

 

Please advise if I handled this correctly or if I should change my strategy based on this info.

 

TIA

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I just spoke with the collector. He has been harrassing my wife at work, where she only works 2 days a week. Her supervisor told her, that he calls a lot and has asked how he can garnish her wages.

 

This is a violation of the FCDPA as he discussed a debt with third party.

 

FYI:  if he has to ask how to garnish her wages then he has NO clue what he is doing.  The ONLY way he can garnish her wages is to sue her and get a judgment then a garnishment order.  He and/or his agency cannot sue you as they do not own the debt.  If you refuse to pay them all he can do is go back to the LL and advise them that they would have to sue to collect.

 

He wants me to fax him over my inspections list so that he can take a look at it. He was very pushy, but I told him I have already filed a complaint with the CFPB and that I will not fax anything. I told him I can send a written dispute by certified mail.

 

Supposedly he wants to work with us and help us remove anything that shouldnt be there, but I told them I will wait the outcome of the complaint as I am concerned with the fruadulant charges violating the FCDPA.

 

There is no reason why you cannot enclose copies of your inspection reports and dispute of the charges this LL tried to hit you up for.  Send it CMRR so you have a copy and record of mailing and receipt.  

 

He told me they are not a collection agency that buys debts, he said they work directly with their clients to get them paid. I dont know if that affects how this should be dealt with. I found a link to their website.

http://thunderbirdcollections.com/first_1.html

 

He doesn't even understand what kind of business they are.  They may not be a junk debt buyer but that doesn't mean you are legally obligated to pay them.  You deal with both the same way it is just with a JDB you have the added leverage of challenging their standing.  

 

The most important thing to know about them is this:  according to their website they work on contingency so he doesn't get paid unless you pay the debt.  

 

Please advise if I handled this correctly or if I should change my strategy based on this info.

 

You handled this just fine.  The only thing I would do is start calling NACA attorneys and sue him and the LL.  The violation(s) he just racked up by calling the employer and discussing the debt and threatening an action he cannot legally take (garnishment) my feeling is that not only will you not be paying this but the TL will be removed and these clowns will be paying you and your attorney.

he percentage of return on the total dollars referred for collection. 

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Now if he only asks who to contact to collect wage garnishment, is that enough?

 

Yes, because you have not been sued and that information is enough to tell anyone else that you owe a debt to someone.  

 

You do not need to speak to them anymore you have more than enough for a FCDPA suit as it stands right now.  Get a lawyer and put the screws to them.

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Meanwhile, get a recorder and get proof on tape. if the bastard calls again ask him if he realizes calling your Wife's place of employment is forbidden and can get her fired. This Bozo probably will say "Good."  If on tape you and your Wife stand to collect $$$!

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Meanwhile, get a recorder and get proof on tape. if the bastard calls again ask him if he realizes calling your Wife's place of employment is forbidden and can get her fired. This Bozo probably will say "Good."  If on tape you and your Wife stand to collect $$$!

 

Do NOT do this until you know and understand the laws for recording phone calls in your state and the state where this CA is.  You could end up being sued or with criminal charges for violating wire tapping laws.

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Do NOT do this until you know and understand the laws for recording phone calls in your state and the state where this CA is.  You could end up being sued or with criminal charges for violating wire tapping laws.

 

That was my next question.

 

I will research, I live in AZ and CA is also in AZ.

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  • 11 months later...

Hello. This had been at a stand still for a few months, however now I need some more advice.

 

I did contact an attorney and they were supposedly working on this case for months without contacting me. When the attorney finally called me back, I had just received a notification from an attorney that the CA had hired. My attorney advised me that he probably would not be able to do anything since the CA's attorney was planning on filing a lawsuit, but said if they do file suit that I should go to the court date. About the same time, I requested my free credit report and noticed that on my CR, they were claiming I owe $8k rather than the $5k that is really owed. I sent a debt verification letter, in which they responded and included a copy of the lease. The following day I was served with a civil judgement, where I must respond in writing. within 20 days.

 

My concerns are that the CR states an amount of about $3k more than anywhere else.

Also, as mentioned before, we were trying to discuss this with the property manager, however they never responded to our last email. Initially they had responded that they would communicate with the home owner and get back to us. We sent a 2nd email when he did not respond and still have not received a response. Then over 1 year later is when the CA contacted us. Some of the things that they were charging us for were bogus as well.

 

Can someone please advise what type of documentation or information should be included in my response?

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OK, I am guessing your attorney did not want to pursue the FDCPA complaint for the employer because the SOL ran out on that (1 year from infraction).

Since you are being sued, you need to determine how to answer this. If you do not answer, they will get a default judgement against you and can garnish both of your wages for the full amount. BTW, how much are they suing for?

After this, you need to take the bill you were sent and the lease and find out how much you do owe and how much you don't owe. You may have figure out the repairs that you do owe vs those you don't owe based on law and custom in your area. You will not have to pay for the landlords tools as that is not custom for example (however, if the landlord rented a tool for that job, you may have to pay for it). You can contact a tenant advocacy group to find that information out. Also, find any pictures or inspection report you have from the complex because you will need those.

I suggest you file an answer affirming that you broke the lease but disputing they are suing for because you believe that the landlord padded the bill. They you send a request for discovery an itemized bill for all repairs done as well as any security deposit withheld. You can also request that the landlord furnish you will their actual damages from the broken lease and what steps the performed to rent out the unit as soon as possible. They are not allowed to keep the unit empty and then sue for the entire rent. They must mitigate the damages.

Once you have done that, give is a week or 2 and then call the attorney and offer a settlement amount. I would start with what you think you do owe and subtract about 20 - 30% and start the negotiation there. If you go up to the amount you think you owe and they refuse to budge, then let the judge decide. In the meantime, save up the money you think you owe and if it gets to court and they get a judgement for that amount, immediately pay it. This way, they cannot take any assets.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 Is someone able to advise in what form I must request discovery or provide a disclosure statement in AZ civil case?

 

I found this on the below site, which states my next step would be to provide a disclosure statement:

 

http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/civil-lawsuits-in-arizona----faqs

 

Discovery and Deposition

Within 40 days after the defendant answers, both parties must provide a Initial Disclosure Statement to the other side. Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 26.1 describes what has to be provided to the other party. In brief, it is all of the information that a person has or can get with reasonable efforts that may be useful to the other side. If a party does not provide the Initial Disclosure Statement, the other side can ask the court to compel the party to do so. (Arizona courts do not like to get involved in discovery disputes, so be careful about asking unless you have good reason). Both parties can also ask the party to answer questions, called Interrogatories, or to admit certain facts, called Requests for Admission. A deposition, or an interview under oath, can also be performed.

 

I don't understand if requesting discovery should be done at this step or if it is assumed that both parties will provide.

If I go ahead and provide my disclosures to the plaintiff, I dont know if this is something that should be filed with the court, served to the other party or sent via certified mail.

 

Please advise.

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What do you think they would have to have to prove their case? That is what you request.

The first things that come to mind are a copy of the lease, their inspection report, photographs of the issues, and all bill received for repairs and cleaning. Those are the things they will need to prove their case and hence, that is what you want.

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Yes, I agree, but according to the above it appears that I should not need to request these items unless they are not provided within 40 days. Am I interpreting that correctly?

 

Also I have some email communication with the landlord, where we were disputing the repair charges. I also have a copy of the move-in walk through. Do I need to send these to the plaintiff? If yes, do I just send them via certified mail or do they need to be filed at the court?

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Do listen to them.  The only thing I'll add is for you to look up your state's Landlord/Tenant Statute to see  if the landlord acted as written.  For example if your state requires you be notified,  in writing, within 10 days of termination, you can be held liable.  If not, they cannot collect.  Some states are 30 day.  I say this as you mentioned 60 days in your original post.  It has been found in many suits like this where the landlord did pad the actual cost, so, absolutely, you are handling this properly.  There are also some things they can't charge you for, mainly, what could be considered normal wear and tear.  By this, if you lived there for 3 yrs, you may not have to pay for a repaint.  But, if you did put several picture holes, you could be liable for only that, not the whole.  Remember, they are only allowed to be "made whole", not profit.

 

If you have any pics from your time there, get them out and look.  You want to find things like how many pics on this wall, are there any noticeable stains on carpet, scratches on hardwood floor.  As to appliances, any pic of the fridge open, or the top of the stove?  I say this as I'm fairly sure you did not take pics before leaving.  You're not alone, so, no sadness here.  Why you want them is obvious.  If the claim says you destroyed the living room carpet, you can show a pic of carpet and ask "Where is the damage?"  With so many cell hones around, you should have a few.  Ask friends and family if they have any pics.

 

In your answer, you will deny all claims, period.  It is up to them to prove all they claim, not you to prove your innocence.  You want pics of what they claim.  By this, demand they show proof that the repairs were done only on the damaged area, or item.  You will find that some judges will also ask for this.  You just want to put that bug in his/her ear.   Scrutinize each receipt submitted, and challenge anything you doubt.  And, of course note certain items claimed as normal wear and tear.

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